Intel Core i9 11980HK: all about the ‘best gaming processor in the world’

Core i9 11980HK is Intel’s new high-end 11th generation processor for gaming laptops and mobile workstations targeted at creative and IT professionals. With eight cores and speeds of up to 5 GHz, the unit outperforms AMD’s Ryzen 9 5900HX in performance comparisons produced by Intel. The newcomer showed performance that can be up to 26% better in games like Grid, Far Cry: New Dawn, and Hitman 3, and also promises better performance than its rival in professional and content-creation apps. Below, we take a closer look at the datasheet of the new Core i9 that promises to be the “world’s best gaming chip”.

Intel Core i9 11980HK

SpecificationsIntel Core i9 11980HK
LaunchMay 2021
Speeds2.6 to 5 GHz
Number of cores / threads8/16
Cache24 MB on L3
Memorytwo channels up to 3,200 MT/s
Integrated video cardIntel UHD Graphics
Sockettype BGA, soldered on the motherboard
TDP45 to 65 Watts
Source: Intel


The Core i9 11980HK is an octa-core with 16 simultaneous threads, which means that Intel’s processor can behave as if it has a total of 16 cores operating at the same time for tasks that support such parallel processing.

At speeds, Intel’s new Core i9 offers a few operating ranges. For a TDP of 45 Watts, the 11980HK will clock at 2.6 GHz, while at 65 Watts the processor takes on the 3.3 GHz range. In addition, there is a turbo, which can reach 5 GHz, albeit on a single core: for simultaneous acceleration of more than one core, the maximum speed must be less than 5 GHz.

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Designed for laptops, the processor controls only two simultaneous RAM channels and has an integrated Intel UHD Graphics GPU, capable of controlling 8K screens or up to four monitors at the same time.


So far, the performance figures available regarding the processor come from Intel itself, which recommends some dose of skepticism. According to the brand, the Core i9 11980HK is faster than AMD’s direct rival Ryzen 9 5900HX in both gaming and professional apps.

Hitman 3

Among the numbers Intel released, the Core i9 was 24% faster in Troy: A Total War Saga Siege got 17% better performance in Far Cry: New Dawn, and 26% in Grid. Hitman 3 showed 15% better numbers for the Core i9, while in War Thunder the margin hits 22%.

For professional applications, such as Photoshop, Intel mentions 24% better performance in the comparison against Ryzen 9 5900HX or even 19% better performance when using Office tools.


H-series processors, such as the 11980HK, do not have the same commitment to power efficiency found in ultraportable lines. Because of this, the Core i9 can achieve a TDP of up to 65 Watts, which is comparable to that of mid-range desktop processors.


Although TDP is not a direct measure of power consumption, it is possible to understand how much power the CPU needs to function from this figure. In a high-demand scenario, the notebook needs to have a cooling system robust enough to dissipate 65 Watts of power, something that indicates the possibility of heavier and thicker notebooks due to the need to include larger capacity heatsinks.

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Besides the 65 Watts operating range, the Core i9 11980HK will also be able to work at 45 Watts, thus lowering the raw performance, but also the consumption and the heat produced during its operation.



Perhaps the greatest highlight of the Core i9 11980HK is the processor’s overclocking capabilities. Intel offers the Extreme Tuning Utility tool that allows you to adjust processor operating values in real-time.

It remains to be seen how the processor – and more specifically the notebook manufacturers – will fare in the face of this feature. This is because as the CPU’s performance level increases, so does the heat production and the level of stress on the laptop’s cooling system.

Price and competitors

The Core i9 11980HK is not a processor that can be bought as a standalone, as the unit is intended for gaming laptops and mobile workstations. There are still no models on the national market equipped with the new processor. The Lenovo Legion 7i was announced with the new high-end Core i9 – in addition to the GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card – for US$1,769.

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